Cadbury at risk from internet trolls warns domain registrar
BIRMINGHAM confectioner Cadbury’s could be one of the brands most at risk of internet trolls due to a clutch of controversial new web domains being released, analysts have said.
Thousands of controversial “.sucks” domains are now available to the general public. But according to domain name registrar 34SP.com, just 20% of the UK’s top brands have snapped them up, leaving the rest in danger of reputational threat.
Dove, Cadbury, Kitkat and BBC .sucks domains are just a handful still up for grabs to anyone that wants to buy them, said the registrar.
Vodafone, Barclays, ASDA, and ASOS have been more cautious and are some of the UK brands to purchase the controversial domains released by a Canadian firm, Vox Populi.
34SP.com said Vodafone, Barclays, Lloyds, and Nationwide had gone one further, by splashing out on .sucks domains under a variety of versions of their brand terms or well-known phrases; with Nationwide even registering nationwideisonyourside.sucks.
The registrar said US brands were more proactive and had pre-registered many of the domains before they were made widely available, with Taylor Swift, Kevin Spacey and Microsoft all saying they had bought them early.
With Cadbury’s parent being US food giant Kraft it is perhaps all the more surprising that the confectioner has failed to act before now.
Daniel Foster, co-founder and technical director at 34SP.com said: “It’s fairly obvious that brands should do everything in their power to avoid the vulnerability posed by the torment of online trolls – especially household names that might be more susceptible.
“We’ve been surprised by the low number of UK brands that have registered these domains, however. Although the term ‘sucks’ might not resonate with the UK audience, a lot of these brands are known internationally, so the domains really shouldn’t be ignored.”
However, he said that in the right circumstances then the new domain could be seen in a positive light.
“Cancer.sucks, for example, has been registered which offers a brilliant opportunity for a marketing campaign for a cancer charity,” he added.
“Our advice to businesses generally is to seriously consider registering .sucks domains before someone else does. Paying the annual cost could be pennies of what a company might need to fork out if the domain is registered by someone else; and the business has a crisis management issue on its hands if controversial content is hosed under its name.”